Mr Samson Awingobit Asaki, Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, has revealed that it was illegal for foreigners to operate shipping agencies.
Mr Asaki said “shipping agencies should be given to Ghanaians alone; we have the laws on local content but not being used.”
Speaking on the Ghana News Agency – “Tema Industrial News Hub Boardroom Dialogue,” he said the current practice of shipping agencies being owned by shipping lines such as Maersk Line and others was against the laws of Ghana.
He said such act does not happen in Nigeria, which ensure that such agencies either solely belonged to their citizens or they own about 60 per cent shares of such agencies, stressing that, “in Nigeria before a shipping line opens an agency for principal, about 60 per cent must belong to Nigerians”.
He noted that shipping lines should solely be the carriers of freight, but in Ghana “they are the carriers at the same time doing agencies”.
Mr Asaki indicated that decoupling carrier activities from shipping agencies would create job opportunities for Ghanaians, which would in effect make the economy more resilient.
He explained that currently the monies being made by the shipping lines involved in agency were all repatriated to their various countries, a practice he said contributed to the depreciation of the Ghana cedis.
According to him, even though the principals who were the shipping lines charge them for freight and carried their items in their containers, the companies fail to remit part of the freight payment to their agencies in Ghana to be used for the container handling and other administrative issues, leading to their agencies recharging the shipper for such services.
He questioned why the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as the Ministry of Finance were not taking interest in implementing the laws to ensure that agency was handled by Ghanaians as well as shipping lines must remit the needed funds to their agencies in Ghana to handle the containers.
“Ghana government and the various minsters are not taking the pain to find out why importers have to pay for cleaning of containers, evacuation of containers, and administrative charges among others,” he said.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, Tema Regional Manager of the GNA, on his part said the Industrial Board Room Dialogue platform was created for stakeholders to reach out to the world on the issues in their respective sectors.
Mr Ameyibor said it was not enough for the media to only draw near to industry players to react to their stories or when there was bad news about them and therefore the reason for the creation of the platform.
He said it was common knowledge that a lot of things happened at sea and in the fishing industry that the public needed more enlightenment on therefore the need to engage the GTA to throw light on its sector.
Mr Ameyibor explained that, activities on the sea was one of the most dynamic but under-reported from the media, therefore the agency had created a platform to offer stakeholders news channel to reach out to the world.
He noted that GNA Tema office branded as the Industrial News Hub, seeks to help fill ocean news gap, the need for better reporting on sea and fisheries issues, as life on the sea affects the general livelihood of people as the level of consumption of fish in the country was large.